The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. – Psalm 97:5 (NRSV)
What if the writer of this psalm were to see Niagara Falls?
The psalmist probably didn’t travel much, at least not by today’s standards. They had a pretty narrow experience of the natural world’s diversity: a sea or two, a lake, rivers and streams (mostly small), lots of hills, a few smallish mountains, Mediterranean climate. So of course these are the natural metaphors and referents they use when they want to talk about God’s power: storms, mountains, fires, floods, deserts, seas, and sea creatures.
I wonder what they would have written if their imagination had had access to the full library of natural wonders and experiences. What would their faithful poet’s heart do with the Amazon rainforest? Would they say that God is or is not like a blizzard if they had lived through one? What about a hurricane? Monsoon season? What would a glimpse of Everest, or Antarctica, or a sequoia make them say about God? What songs of praise would they write if they could watch mitosis, or get a really good view of Mars?
What would they do with all the things you’ve seen? More to the point, what would you do with them? Given what you’ve experienced of the natural world and of God, what metaphors would you use in the song you write to praise the Creator? Crocuses in snow? Beach sunrise? The Northern lights? The fourth instar of your favorite caterpillar? Something that would never occur to someone like me?
Whatever it is, hurry up and get it written already, please! We’re all waiting.
For all the ways you reveal yourself to your people through your world, thank you.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.